Annie was only with us for 7 months, but we celebrated all of her last days. I adored my chocolate shadow, my big girl who would shove her head between your knees for a hard ear rub; who would dance in circles and cry at the sight of her leash; who remembered she could still run (arthritis and all) at the park across the street; who drank toilet water and craved Saltine crackers and lounged on the couch when I left the house and sprawled, elbows wide, at my feet while I wrote every single afternoon. I was so sure she’d be here to help me finish my book.
Only 7 months. One long, beautiful snapshot. As Caroline Knapp describes so perfectly in PACK OF TWO:
These are all snapshots of that niche we inhabit with dogs, a place where the canine experience somehow intersects with ours, offering in the process a measure of solace. When I walk with [my dog] Lucille … out in the woods Lucille and I will sometimes stop and sit in the shade of a tree, and I’ll watch her for a moment or two, watch the way her whole body is attuned to what’s happening that very instant — what smells are wafting her way, what sounds she’s picking up, what insect is flitting across her field of vision — and I’ll think: Ah, right now; that’s what it’s like to live right now. There’s something very Zen about the experience of being with a dog in such a setting, something about the dog’s orientation in the tangible here and now that rubs off on you, cues you in to sounds and smells and sights, eases temporal human concerns — what happened two hours or two months ago, what’s going to happen two hours or two months later — into the background. Focus shifts; perspective returns. You find yourself exercising two skills that are so elusive in the human world: the ability to live in the present, and the ability to share silence. Snapshot of peace.